Conroys Solicitors LLP recently represented a client who was challenging her detention under section 3 Mental Health Act 1983 by way of a Hospital Managers’ Review Hearing. Unfortunately, the only person available to give evidence on behalf of the detaining authority was her Responsible Clinician (consultant psychiatrist).

This left important questions about our client’s options in the community unanswered and the Managers felt they had no choice but to keep the section in place on the available evidence.

Comments were made as to the need for care coordinators to be available to give evidence in such appeals. Care coordinators are often social workers or community psychiatric nurses. They see the patient much more regularly and are more aware of the social funding available to support patients in the community. It is likely that care coordinators will have had the opportunity to see or speak with the patient between writing their report and the hearing and are often able to give valuable updates.

The comments made by the Managers noted the risks of not being able to take evidence from the care coordinator. They highlighted the possibility that a patient is wrongly discharged from a section based on out-of-date evidence and could then go on to do serious harm to themselves or others.

Conroys Solicitors LLP consider the more likely danger to be that a patient is wrongly kept under detention in hospital as a result of the Managers or Tribunal not receiving updated evidence as to their improvement.

Should you wish to seek legal advice regarding detention under the Mental Health Act, please feel free to contact us.